One look the catalog of games developed by Vanillaware will reveal a host of beautiful titles across multiple genres. The developer excels in created new original experiences instead of focusing on IPs to produce into series. This has made each release approachable no matter how versed you are with their previous games.
When it comes to their newest game to come west, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, we get the chance to see just how talented this team is at storytelling. After playing through the prologue for this preview, I found myself glued to its presentation, characters, and world-building.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim introduces us to 13 characters whose lives are connected through a massive event that none of them could have anticipated. However, the story is delivered in pieces, so some moments of gameplay happen out of place. If that wasn’t enough, there’s the element of time travel here as some of the characters aren’t exactly who they say they are.
The event itself took place in 1985, but players will be witnesses to the past and future as well. The setting almost feels nostalgic and the characters themselves come across as relatable and reminiscent of friends you may know. There are even relationships that develop between a few members of the group. The chemistry between the characters can be tense at times, but they seem to relax when someone they trust is nearby. The character writing just flows so beautifully, even as the game jumps back and forth across the timeline, it still manages to stay grounded.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is very much a blending of adventure visual novel scenarios and strategic gameplay. However, I would say that this is more of a visual novel. The strategy sections allow you to take complete control over towering mechs to save the city from an enemy invasion. Each mech has access to a variety of different abilities, and it all takes place on an overworld map. However, in the prologue, this section of the game is mostly tutorials, so I’d like to see how it evolves in the later parts of the narrative.
My time getting through the prologue was slowed down because I couldn’t stop gawking at the environments. I felt like I was continually taking screenshots of ever scene and doing my best to explore each nook and cranny in hopes of finding secrets. The adventure portions of the game also allow players to use a thought feature that will enable them to discuss specific topics with characters or explain their personal thoughts about people and situations.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is very much a visual novel experience, but the way that it balances its story beats and character-building makes it feel like you are playing through something more akin to a TV show. There are tons of science fiction themes to explore here, but its the relationships and pacing between this large cast of characters that will ultimately keep you invested. If that wasn’t enough, the overall design of the game will make it exceptionally difficult to put down the controller.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim ends up being like no other Vanillaware game that I’ve played, and I’m entirely on board to progress further and learn more about this world that they’ve crafted. I’m looking forward to seeing how these relationships develop and to what end they’re plans are to save the world from invasion.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is coming to PlayStation 4 on September 22, 2020.
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